If I was forced to resign from the company I worked, how does that affect my eligibility for unemployment benefits?

I disclosed privileged information (how much the company was making) to 2 individuals while training them. Everyone had access to that information, there was no special password, code or login required. Anyone could look at it, so would that be considered privileged? I had worked there over a year and never had a verbal or written warning for anything. When your employer gives you the choice to either be terminated or resign, it is considered involuntary for employment benefit purposes?

Asked on July 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, when your employer gives you the choice to be terminated or resign and you choose to resign, that is *not* considered involuntary termination--rather, it is considered a voluntary end to your employment, since you chose resignation. You could have refused to resign, after all, and been terminated; if that  had happened, you could get unemployment benefits *if* the termination was not "for cause," such as violating policy or improper use of privileged information (if it was a "for cause" termination, you would be ineligible for unemployment.)

Instead, you chose to resign. Since you voluntarily left--were not terminated--you would not be able to receive unemployment benefits. In the eyes of the law, it is not involuntary or to be "forced" to make what you think is the best of bad choices.

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